Juan de Valdés Leal


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(bapt. Seville, 4 May 1622; bur. Seville, 15 Oct. 1690).

Spanish painter and etcher, active mainly in Seville. He settled there permanently in 1656 after spending part of his early career in Córdoba, and following Murillo's death in 1682 he was the leading artist in the city. Like Murillo, he was primarily a religious painter, but he was very different in style and approach. He had a penchant for macabre or grotesque subject matter, and his style is characterized by feverish excitability, with a vivid sense of movement, brilliant colouring, and dramatic lighting. His most celebrated works are two powerful allegories of Death (1670–2) in the Hospital de la Caridad, Seville: In ictu oculi (In the Twinkling of an Eye), showing a skeleton snuffing out the flame of life and trampling on the attributes of earthly achievement; and Finis gloriae mundi (The End of Worldly Glory), depicting rotting corpses in a crypt. He also polychromed Roldán's sculpture on the high altar in the Caridad. Several other members of his family were artists.

Subjects: Art.

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